When it comes to home security, these days homeowners and installers alike are awash with an abundance of solutions to choose from.
Adding to the myriad of CCTV systems, cameras, alarms, sensors and wireless security options is a new take on the security sector from BeON Home, which has introduced the BeON proactive home protection solution.
This CE Pro Eu editor recalls that as a child her parents always switched the hallway lights on before leaving for the airport to embark on a summer holiday, hoping to deter any potential opportunist burglars. That was two weeks of solidly leaving the lights on: two weeks of wasted energy and money.
Skip forward to 2015 and unsurprisingly technology has an answer for this very issue: Addressing key concerns around safety and security – even for those who own a traditional monitoring system – the BeON system transcends the smart bulb category by taking the familiar light bulb form factor and creating a solution that makes security and safety available and accessible for home owners.
Aimed firmly at the consumer/self-install market, how it works is by learning a household’s day-to-day lighting routine, replicating that rhythm when the home is empty, creating the illusion that someone is there.
BeON’s intelligent module hidden inside the light bulbs listens for sounds such as doorbells; turning the bulbs on in sequence to appear as if someone is moving about the house.
Not stopping there, BeON also brings familiar personal safety experiences into the home, such as providing exit lighting when a smoke detector goes off, backup lighting during a power outage and fading out when the light is turned off.
CE Pro Eu sits down with BeON’s founder and CEO, Alexei Erchak to find out all there is to know about the newest smart bulb on the scene.
Alexei has a strong message, delving straight in by stating that “security is the most desirable feature for your home, yet only 20% of US households own a monitoring system and only 30% of those have them turned on and activated.
“Our founding team saw an opportunity to create a security and safety system unlike any other; a system that is designed to be proactive rather than reactive. By turning the simplest everyday device – a light bulb – into proactive protection for the home, our system makes home security and protection thoughtful, familiar and accessible to everyone. The BeON system learns your lighting patterns and the sound of your doorbell to stop break-ins while you’re away and provides emergency and safety lighting while you’re at home. With BeON, you simply install the bulbs and live your life!”
Alexei spotted a huge opportunity in the security market, deciding that there simply wasn’t a complete system with the critical first layer of defence.
BeON was founded with the simple vision to make a safer, smarter home as simple as screwing in a light bulb.
“When we created BeON, we thought about things like the emergency lighting that our children have at school. We asked: ‘shouldn’t they have this at home during an emergency or power outage?’ Unlike other security systems out there, we added safety features that have those familiar associations. Inspired by lighting solutions that we use in other aspects of our life, we added a rechargeable battery built into each light bulb so that they can stay on during a power outage and work even if the switch is in the off position.”
With BeON, users can also set lights to slowly fade out when they turn them off, providing ample time to safely walk out of a room.
Additionally, BeON can be trained to detect the alarm of a user’s smoke detector and provide light to enable everyone to safely exit a house in an emergency.
Alexei is of the belief that as technology evolves, consumers should have to interact less with their security system. With this in mind it is easy to see why BeON’s energy efficient light bulbs feature intelligent modules that will learn a user’s patterns.
“If someone rings the doorbell while you’re away, the bulbs will automatically play a lighting sequence that suggests you’re walking from another part of the house towards the door,” he explains. “In either situation, a burglar (or neighbourhood miscreant) scoping out your home will get the impression that the house is occupied and will likely retreat.”
An innovative idea, no doubt, but will homeowners put their trust in a smart bulb? If BeON’s research claiming that 80% of US households don’t own any kind of security system is true (and assuming Europe reflects a similar statistic) – all signs seem to point to the fact that surely it must be better to trust a smart bulb to protect a home, rather than nothing?
So what’s the cost?…
So what’s the cost?
A basic BeON home protection system includes three soft white LED bulbs (reported as being 75% more efficient than incandescent bulbs) and the iOS App, costing $249.00 (£159.34).
One additional bulb bumps up the cost to $319.00 (£204.14), an extra two costs $398.00 (£254.69), while the option to have a total of six bulbs totals at $464.00 (£296.93).
A key feature lies in BeON’s ease of install, in addition to its unobtrusive design.
“Consumers should look for technology that fits seamlessly with their lifestyles without needless gadgetry,” nods Alexei.
“There are not a lot of solutions out there that are simple-to-install and easy-to-use – most require interaction with the device, installation and sometimes complex programming. We spent a lot of time focused on building a solution that is seamless and as simple as flipping a light switch. Consumers only need to install the bulbs and live their lives.
“To make your home smarter without compromising aesthetics (such as lighting quality) or changing your daily routine, BeON bulbs can be inserted just like normal light bulbs and work with existing wall switches. Designed to be simple and stress-free, there is no complicated electronic installation or programming required. Users simply activate the system via the mobile App or wall switch. The mobile application gives tech-savvy users the ability for remote control while the native wall switch function allows users of all ages to take advantage of BeON’s security features.”
The intelligence in BeON’s technology resides in a plug-in module that clicks into the bulb, enabling Bluetooth Smart as well as the microphone, sound processor and rechargeable battery.
This modular design allows BeON to continuously update features via the BeON App and to upgrade modules with different functions to expand the capabilities of the system without replacing the LED bulb.
The manufacturer’s light bulbs use Bluetooth mesh-network technology to talk to each other and extend the range of the system throughout a home.
So how have recent IoT developments aided the progress of BeON?
“The proliferation of smart home products and the growing awareness of the IoT means companies need to be hyper-focused on the experience they are delivering to consumers,” says Alexei.
“When we thought about the design of our product, we wanted to make sure we were giving people not just smart but actually valuable experiences that offer security and safety without rearranging peoples’ lives or routines.
“The other big focus in IoT has been compatibility – how will all of these products and services work together to ensure one cohesive solution? The BeON LED bulbs are designed with an intelligent module that can be easily removed and upgraded to give the system new functionality and interoperability. We want our products to fit into our customers’ homes and coexist with the technology around them.”
So far things are looking bright for the company, having just been announced as the first winner of the new Z-Wave Labs global Internet of Things developer competition.
“We plan to develop a Z-Wave module for our system which would enable it to integrate with traditional security systems and provide a more seamless experience for owners of existing security and whole home automation systems,” Alexei furthers.
“As a new member of Z-Wave Alliance, we will benefit from its resources in the security space and plan to be the first company to provide a Z-Wave-based preventative security system.”
BeON will be shipping to customers in North America in August, although Alexei lets on that the company is presently considering solutions for other markets.
Additionally, the company is already developing future modules, recognising sounds that will further deter theft during daylight hours, such as the sound of someone ringing a doorbell, a dog barking or footsteps.
“We also plan to add remote connectivity so people can control the BeON system from outside their homes as well as modules that allow for interoperability with existing security systems,” he reveals.
Alexei is keen to point out that the BeON system can further expand to perform many different smart home functions beyond home protection, provided each experience follows the BeON design philosophy of integrating seamlessly into customer’s lives.
“There’s a moment when we’re telling the BeON story to someone that you can see it click,” he enthuses. “The experience we’re delivering is really unique but relies on the natural connection between light and safety and the comfort and accessibility consumers associate with an everyday object – the light bulb.”
Many analysts have predicted that automated lighting would be one of the first sectors to feel the effects of the growth of the IoT; time will tell if products like BeON will start to eat into the popularity of established automated lighting platforms or merely spread awareness and desire for something with more functionality.